DESPITE racing two paddlers short of a full squad, the Western Region women’s dragon boating team still managed to secure a bronze medal at the NSW State Championships, in Penrith on April 6.
The Western team, made up of paddlers from Dubbo, Forbes, Orange, Lithgow and Bathurst, competed against two Northern Region squads and one team from the Southern Region. All three had full contingents.
Racing in lane two, Western kept the pace despite Southern and Northern (1) pulling ahead, eventually finishing first and second respectively just 0.2 of a second apart.
Western’s 18-strong boat took third spot from Northern (2) by just over one second, five seconds behind the leaders.
Western was also represented in the mixed category, but again the red-and-golds were handicapped by numbers, or lack thereof.
While Northern and Southern entered full teams, having over 60 and 40 paddlers respectively, Western had just 26. Despite this being seven more than last year, back-to-back races led to early fatigue for most of the squad.
The mixed team failed to podium, finishing fifth, 13 seconds off the pace.
Every cloud has a silver lining though, with six Western paddlers representing NSW at the AusDBF Australian Dragon Boat Championships in Queensland, on Tuesday.